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Friday, July 19, 2013

What Does Your Personality Say About Your Prayers?


So what do you think of personality tests?  I think they are pretty useful, myself, though I usually flunk when I take them!  There are lots of personality tests out there and some are very interesting, others seem rather bizarre.  But one thing they all have in common is that, if you pay attention to what they are saying, you will discover that not everybody experiences or views the world the same way you do.  They don’t even all see it the same way I do!  

This is actually true for lots of reasons. With the Zimmerman trial, and the death of young Martin, we are hearing quite a great deal about your skin color and the country in which one grows up in can really shape how you experience events.  Our gender, our subculture, the chemical balance in our brain all combine to create an amazingly complex individual fashioned by a variable of factors throughout our lifetime.  These events and factors create our personality and shape our personality into different types - the personality tests seek to identify the ways in which various people experience the world and interpret the things they experience, and in so doing, help us understand why we think the way we do, as well as improve our understanding of other individuals.
Have you ever thought about a personality test in terms of your spouse or your ex?   Now if you were to ask my wife, she would tell you some silly story about personality tests and that I thought I should have her take one to decide whether or not I ought to continue to date her or not.  There is an event out of which she spins the yarn…but whether it is all she claims is highly debatable!  

The truth is, if you participate in any of the better dating/matchmaking services, a personality inventory of some sort is used to understand you and create your profile.  Well worth your time if you are hoping for a compatible match.  Many pastors, too, have some various personality tests they give to their engaged couples to help prepare them for marriage, by helping them understand the differences and similarities in their personalities.  Probably not a bad idea, because some personalities mesh much more easily than others. 

The truth is two individuals can experience the exact same event and interpret it in two completely different ways.  Which can be enriching in some situations, but in a marriage, it can be the grounds for lots of difficulties, especially if one spouse doesn't realize the role personality plays in the way we experience and interpret our realities.    Paying attention to the information from a personality inventory might make some individuals reconsider their choice of marriage partners long before they reached the altar.  At minimum, they wouldn't expect their spouse to we do!   

I’m sure that God’s guidance and wisdom can overcome obstacles in even the most opposite of personalities, and that the differences are often enriching to a marriage that might have been boring if we were too much alike, but the whole idea really raises some interesting possibilities, doesn't it?  I know that in my experience, the two different personality types of my first and my second wife have certainly played a big role in creating a vastly different relationship in my second marriage from my first, especially with all the things I learned about myself along the way.  Might be something to explore if you are considering getting married again, or even if you want to have a better understanding in your current relationships.

Anyway, perhaps you are wondering what got me started on all this in the first place.   Well, my wife showed me something she ran across on the internet that plays with the combination of prayer and the Myers-Briggs personality inventory.  I laughed enough I decided to pass it on to you.   If you are familiar with Myers-Briggs, you can jump on down to the prayer list below.  

Prayers for Myers-Briggs Types

(Click on the link above to go to the Liturgy website for the prayers!)

If not, it might be helpful to know a bit about the Myers-Briggs.  There are four categories in each personality type, and each category has two possible identifications.  The pair options are Introvert/Extrovert, Intuitive/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling and Perceiving/Judging.  I’m not going to explain much more, you can research it online.  And if you aren't familiar with it for yourself, I’d highly recommend checking into it…you can learn a lot with this tool, in my opinion.  Anyway, enjoy the prayers of the various personality types, and the source of the humorous piece.  Enjoy!

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